This is Edmond from Hokkaido Government Representative Office. Today is the day that I am heading to Eastern Hokkaido. I started from JR Toya station and took a limited express train towards Minami-chitose station (about 80mins), before transferring to another limited express train headed for JR Obihiro station (2hrs 15 mins). Along the way, it actually started snowing around the Tomamu area, the first time that I have seen snow during this trip!
On the train bound for JR Obihiro station
Snow in Tomamu area, along the way to Obihiro
I reached Obihiro around 13:20pm in the afternoon at just the timing for lunch. Since I am in Obihiro, I just have to try the famous pork rice bowl. It is definitely a “must-try” in Obihiro in my opinion.
Pork Rice Bowl
Pork Rice Bowl restaurant where I ate.
After lunch, before heading off, I went back to JR Obihiro station to collect the “2019, Enjoy Tokachi Ticket”, a 1,000 yen worth of tickets exclusive to foreigners, which you can use at the various shops/attractions in Obihiro. All you have to do is show you passport to receive a set. Do note that it is currently only valid from 13 Sep 2019 to 20 Dec 2019.
2019 Enjoy Tokachi Ticket
I got onto my rental car and off I go again. My first stop is “Garden Spa Tokachigawa Onsen”. If you have some knowledge of hot springs in Japan, you will know that usually the baths are gender separated and no clothes are allowed in them. Well, for the baths at “Garden Spa Tokachigawa Onsen”, the baths are actually mixed gender and you will be required to wear a swimsuit to enter. Therefore for those of you who are too shy to get fully naked to enter a hot spring, or want to enjoy a hot spring experience together with your loved one/family, this the perfect place to do so.
Signage of “Garden Spa Tokachigawa Onsen”
Exterior of Garden Spa Tokachigawa Onsen
Interior of Garden Spa Tokachigawa Onsen
Next, I headed towards Ikeda town, to visit the winery of Tokachi wine, the Ikeda Wine Castle. As the wine castle is undergoing renovations, I was not able to take a picture of it. However, I still managed to enter the main wine factory and had a glimpse on how Tokachi wine is produced. They even had a shop, where you will be able to purchase various different series of Tokachi wine. If you are a wine lover, I definitely recommend paying a visit.
Tokachi wine main factory
Tokachi wine production
Sale of Tokachi wines
Next I headed to the “Aikoku (愛国)” and “Kofuku (幸福)” train stations. Although the train stations are no longer in operation, the names of the stations actually means “love” and “happiness” in Japanese. Therefore, people actually turned them into a small shrine and a photo spot for pictures! You will also be able to stick your well-wishes inside the station and there is even a train on display at the platforms at both of the stations for you to take those “insta-worthy” photos.
Train on display at Aikoku station
Well-wishes pasted at Kofuku station
Train on display at Kofuku station
After the sun has set, I headed to Rokkatei Main Shop in Obihiro. If you are a sweets lover or looking for souvenirs to buy, I highly recommend getting the biscuit “Marusei Butter Sand”, it is surprisingly very delicious despite its looks. Rokkatei actually originated from Obihiro, so make sure you do not give this shop a miss.
Entrance of Rokkatei main store
“Marusei Butter Sand” on sale at Rokkatei
After shopping, it is time to head for dinner in Obihiro and I recommend checking out “Kitano Yatai” and “Tokachi no Nagaya” food districts. With the many small local food outlets available, you will be spoilt for choice.
“Kitano no Yatai” food district
“Tokachi no Nagaya” food district
In one of the outlets at “Kitano Yatai”
If you are in Obihiro, do also remember to catch the Banei Tokachi (horse racing). Unfortunately, I only have 1 day in Obihiro and did not have the time to go see it, therefore I will end this post with a picture of the brochure of Banei Tokachi.
Brochure of Banei Tokachi (horse racing)